The Malta Independent 18 July 2024, Thursday
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Exclusive: No phone call between Pierre Darmanin, Minister Cardona – investigation sources

Rachel Attard Sunday, 14 October 2018, 08:00 Last update: about 7 years ago

The alleged telephone call between ship owner Pierre Darmanin and Economy Minister Chris Cardona shortly after the former spoke with Daphne Caruana Galizia did not take place, according to local and foreign sources close to the investigation.

On the other hand, Darmanin really did call brothers Alfred and George Degiorgio, two of the three men accused of killing the journalist, shortly after the phone call with the journalist.

Earlier this week, the Daphne Project reported that, on 31 October 2016, Pierre Darmanin had contacted Daphne Caruana Galizia after she named him in a blog post about diesel smuggling and car bombings.

Caruana Galizia had reported that Darmanin’s ship MV Silverking had been impounded by Customs three years prior, and that Darmanin had been named in a police/customs investigation into a diesel-smuggling ring. 

La Repubblica, one of the partners in the project, claimed that shortly after the blog was published, Darmanin called Caruana Galizia. Shortly afterwards, he called Chris Cardona and then Alfred Degiorgio, it was claimed. The information allegedly came from sources close to the magisterial inquiry led by Magistrate Neville Camilleri.

But The Malta Independent has now been told that, while the call between Darmanin and the Degiorgios has been confirmed, there is no evidence of a call between Darmanin and Cardona. According to our sources Investigators have found regular contacts between Darmanin and the Degiorgios in the logs.

While it cannot be excluded that Cardona was contacted at an earlier or later stage on an unknown number, there is nothing to suggest that Darmanin called the minister shortly after the conversation with Caruana Galizia, as claimed by La Repubblica.

The sources also revealed that it was in fact Daphne Caruana Galizia who had called Darmanin, and not the other way round, as Caruana Galizia had written, and the call lasted 411 seconds (around seven minutes). The call was placed on 31 October 2016 at 14.29, according to the phone logs.

The Malta Independent on Sunday is informed that the investigators, both Maltese and foreign, are in possession of all mobile phone call logs from Daphne Caruana Galizia, Chris Cardona, Pierre Darmanin and the three men accused of the murder – Alfred and George Degiorgio, and Vince Muscat. The three accused owned several mobile phones, most of which were found dumped into the sea near the Marsa shed where they were arrested early in December of last year.

The Daphne Project last week also claimed that Cardona had attended a 40-person bachelor’s party, held at a villa in Fawwara, in June 2017, around 4 months before the murder. According to the report, Alfred Degiorgio was also in attendance. La Repubblica said it could not say whether Cardona and Degiorgio had spoken at the event. Last year, the Daphne Project had also reported that Cardona had been seen, on two occasions, in the presence of Alfred Degiorgio at a Siggiewi bar. The first alleged sighting took place before the murder, and the second took place in November, a few weeks after the car bombing in Bidnija. Cardona has accused the Daphne Project of mounting a “smear campaign” but has not been clear in his denial. On the Siggiewi bar claims he had said that he had no idea that Degiorgio was a suspect. This week, while confirming that he had attended the 29 June 2017 bachelor’s party, he asked fellow MPs whether they could guarantee that they had never been at an event where those present included people of bad repute. 

Cardona said that he found it pitiful that some of the members of the opposition wished that they "somehow make a direct connection between me and the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia".

Everyone knows that lawyers are exposed to certain contacts and events where there will be many people, he said. He also said that he found it ‘ridiculous’ to try to implicate someone in a murder just because they attended a social event.


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